Bichitra: The Making of an Online Tagore Variorum by Sukanta Chaudhuri

By Sukanta Chaudhuri

This ebook files the production of the Bichitra on-line Tagore Variorum, a publicly available database of Rabindranath Tagore's whole works in Bengali and English totaling a few 140,000 pages of basic fabric. Chapters conceal cutting edge elements of the location, all replicable in different initiatives: a hyperbibliography; a seek engine and hyperconcordance operating around the database; and a distinct collation software evaluating variation texts at 3 degrees. There also are chapters at the certain difficulties of processing manuscripts, and on making plans the web site. Early chapters take readers in the course of the historical past of the venture, an outline of Tagore’s works, and the Bengali writing process with the demanding situations of adapting it to digital shape.

The identify Bichitra, which means "various" in Bengali, alludes either to the nice number of Tagore’s works and to their a number of phases of composition. past their literary excellence, they're extraordinary for his or her sheer volume, the variety of version kinds of an excellent many goods, and their afterlife in translation, usually the poet’s personal. Seldom if ever has an identical author revised his fabric and recast it throughout genres on one of these scale.​​ Tagore received the Nobel Prize in 1913.

By its value-added presentation of this diversity of fabric, Bichitra could be a version for destiny databases overlaying an author’s entire works or different significant corpus of texts. It bargains greatly accelerated entry to Tagore’s writings, and allows new sorts of learn together with computational textual content research. The “book of the web site” exhibits in technical and human phrases how researchers with pursuits in artwork, literature and expertise can collaborate on cultural informatics tasks.

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Extra resources for Bichitra: The Making of an Online Tagore Variorum

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It provides the material for literary analysis; it does not undertake it. What, then, were the stages by which we tackled each manuscript? Numbering the Pages A preliminary chore was to number the pages consistently. As with most manuscripts everywhere, the Tagore manuscripts were paginated by librarians or archivists at a later date. But with the Rabindra-Bhavana manuscripts, this had been done at different times by different people in different ways. Sometimes there were more than one set of numbers: we had to track each one through to find the most consistent and sustained sequence.

The original printed text has been pasted on the right-hand page of the manuscript book. (MS RB 230 pages 5–6; Bichitra image 5) There is another theoretical angle to the rationale or, to use a grander word, philosophy of manuscript transcription. Each manuscript is unique, however closely it may resemble another, in a way printed books are not (though there can be variants between copies of the same imprint). This has a practical consequence in that except for a few routine copies (chiefly typescripts), the 711 manuscripts we processed each presented some unique problems.

Manuscript transcription was actually better in this respect: being more varied in content, often affording the stimulation of solving puzzles, it kept the attention keenly engaged. Amritesh describes how he would feast his eyes on the manuscript doodles to refresh his mind! 20 S. Chaudhuri and D. Ghosh We did have the benefit of a basic set of OCR-generated text files. OCR has been developed for a few major Bengali fonts: first by Bidyut Baran Chaudhuri of the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, and then his pupil Anirban Raychaudhuri during the latter’s association with the Department of Computer Science at Jadavpur University.

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